The Journal of Emerging Investigators (JEI) is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing scientific literacy in middle and high school students. The mission of JEI is to teach students how to think clearly and creatively, training them to navigate scientific literature, and write about their experiments in context of their respective scientific fields.
Through JEI, students receive extensive feedback on their science projects from Harvard-trained PhD scientists, hone their science writing skills, and can publish their work in our free, open-access journal. All articles are published on our website, where they offer a rich resource for educators to teach their students how to approach and appreciate professional science writing.
How We Started
Like any other research project, JEI started with an observation. At the end of several local science fairs in the Boston area, all of the hard work of the students – their data and conclusions -- often went into the trash once the science fairs concluded. It was disappointing to say the least, and to us, represented a large gap in science education. But it led to an important question: How could we keep the work of these young scientists’ alive past science fair and share it more broadly?
Both these students and the greater scientific community would be best served by publishing their work, yet there was no science journal dedicated to publishing the work of middle and high school students, which was also free and utilized a review process to engage students in critical thinking about their science. So we said to ourselves: Why not start the journal we envisioned?
In 2011, three graduate students at Harvard Medical School founded JEI as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, dedicated to providing a free platform for middle and high school students to publish their scientific research. Six years later, JEI is the preeminent peer-reviewed research journal dedicated to middle and high school science research.
JEI is not just a platform for publication, but also an educational experience for middle and high school students. JEI engages young scientists in an essential part of the scientific process: peer-review and publication.
We support young scientists in developing and answering their own scientific questions, guide them to think critically about their research, and provide the opportunity for young scientists to fully engage in the scientific process by publishing their research in a scientific journal.
JEI is unique among journals for young scientists in that all articles undergo peer review, just as in professional scientific journals. In the peer review process, reviewers not only evaluate manuscripts scientifically, but also give recommendations on the scientific writing. All JEI editors and reviewers are PhD-level scientists, many of whom are passionate about both education outreach and scientific publishing. In addition, JEI provides teachers with resources derived from our articles to teach students how to critically read scientific manuscripts and write their own. As a result, JEI is a tremendous benefit to students, reviewers, and teachers alike.
Where We Are Now
Since 2011, JEI has provided secondary school students the opportunity to publish their original research in our free, open-access journal. During this time, we received over 350 submitted manuscripts from six continents, and published 103 original scientific articles from middle and high school students around the world. In 2016, we received a total of 119 submissions and published 30 articles, and have a volunteer staff of over 160 graduate students and PhD-level scientists.
One of our first authors, Catherine Zhang , who in 10th grade published ‘Effectiveness of Biodegradable Plastic in Preventing Food Spoilage’, had this to say about JEI:
“I definitely think that having this experience is going to impact my future because of how much it’s improved my science writing. Before submitting, I was structuring most of my work as typical five paragraph essays rather than what you would see in a real study. Also, having the opportunity to get comments and critiques from the scientists on staff was really interesting and stimulating because it gave me insight into how they think and their approach toward scientific questions. Beyond that, I also really appreciated the opportunity to share my work and to read about the work that other students are doing.”
We Need Your Help
JEI is supported by an entirely volunteer staff, and over 98% of our funds go towards providing educational experiences for students. Our publishing branch started out by using emails, Google Docs, and Dropbox to handle all student submissions and editorial exchanges. Recently, however, it became evident that this system is not efficient enough to keep up with the growing demand. In order to provide a more streamlined and professional publishing experience to both student authors and JEI staff alike, we recently adopted a professional manuscript submission and management system used by several major scientific journals. Each new student submission costs $30, and because we will never charge students for submission of their science manuscripts, we seek your help to sponsor talented young scientists in their pursuit to publish their science research.
Every $30 of donation will sponsor the science publishing experience of one student, who will explore his/her scientific passions and take pride in the scientific article that he/she produced. If we raise funds beyond our initial goal, we will use donations to fund science-writing workshops and local school visits within the Greater Boston area.
Please contact us at [email redacted] with any questions or comments! Detailed expenses for FY18 as well as projected 3-year expenses are available upon request at [email redacted].
Media Coverage on JEI
From Students to Scientists, American Educator
Inside JEI, the peer-reviewed journal for middle and high school scientists, Cell Press Blog
Today’s Students, Tomorrow’s Scientists, Nexus Media
Science Mentoring: Journal of Emerging Investigators, Nature Blog
JEI Staff on Scientific Education
Incorporating Primary Scientific Literature in Middle and High School Education, Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education
Next-generation training: publishing student scientists' research, Trends in Pharmacological Sciences
- Katie and Leif Fixen
- Susan & Destin Heilman
- jaime duran
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